Preparing yourself for an Interview in English
So, you have your first interview in English. Great! Well done on getting this far.
For many people, interviews can bring a lot of stress. This stress can be multiplied if you are worried about speaking in your second language! Whether you are going for a job, a university course, or any other position, here is a quick guide to preparing yourself for an interview in English.
In the days or weeks before your interview, try writing a paragraph or two about each of these topics:
- What you know about the company.
- Why you want the job.
- What value you can add to the company
- What value the company can add to you.
- How this job will fit in with your life.
- Why you are right for the job.
- Where you see yourself in five years.
Accustom yourself to the local accent.
Do you know what accent your interviewer will have? If you are going to a physical location for your interview, this will probably be easier to guess than if you are doing a Skype interview for an international company! Either way, it can be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local accent. One great way is to listen to a local radio station. Go to tunein.com and search by location for a radio station that should speak like your interviewer. You can find podcasts on the same website.
Knowing a little bit about local news or events may be helpful too.
Talk to yourself!
It doesn’t matter if you are in your car or in the shower; answer the questions that they are likely to ask you. Speaking out loud is better than just thinking the answers, as you have to form sentences! Try answering:
- Why are you here?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Why do you want this job?
- What will you bring to the company?
- Any other job-specific question they might ask you!
Don’t think about your interview in the last few hours.
Practising for an interview in the hours and minutes beforehand is the adult equivalent of cramming for an exam before walking in. It will make you more stressed and won’t help your chances! On the morning before the interview, avoid thinking about it. Read some English news or listen to some English radio, but don’t do anything that will make you stressed!
In the interview
On the day, make sure that you arrive early. If it’s online, make sure you check sound and video settings the day before and get ready to connect 5 minutes earlier. From the moment you are there, connect with the interviewer(s) with a firm handshake or a smile. Be social, keeping a light tone as much as possible and let the interviewer do the talking.
After all, this person is deciding whether or not to have you as a colleague, but you are also deciding if the job is the one you actually want. Truly listen to questions, and take your time when answering. Most of all, be yourself. If there is a moment when using your second language confuses you, just say ‘excuse me‘, and start again. Your interviewer will understand.
Do you have your first interview in English coming up? Or have you had one recently? Tell us about your experiences! What are some weird questions people have asked you? Is there any good advice that we haven’t listed above?